The University of Texas System Faculty Advisory Council
Thursday, May 14 - ASH 2
10:00-11:00 am Introductions and Review of May BOR Meeting
Mansour called the meeting to order at 10:09am and welcomed everyone.
Faculty senate has continued to function with David as chair.
RIFF Appeals hearings are now taking place. Only a minority of those riffed have appealed. Hearings run in a peculiar manner. Faculty must show burden of proof. Most have chosen closed hearings. Witnesses have been sequestered. David challenged this process and will be allowed to have his witnesses present. Administration didn’t want to allow invited guests to closed hearings. Difficulty getting supporting documentation that is supposed to be available to riffed faculty. David asked for a legal definition of financial exigency and was told there isn’t one. 127 riffed, 40 initially appealed and 30 are actually appealing. They are looking at the percentage of riffed faculty who were tenured or tenure track. There is circumstantial evidence that some emails from David and Tom have been blocked. Tom requested a list of 18 types of information and was given only a small amount of what he asked for. He was told they couldn’t give info on donors or those in city government because it would reveal email addresses. They also would give info related to Tom’s core facility and a particular discovery of contaminated samples. The attorney general has said much of this information must be released. When Tom attempted to forward the information from the Attorney General to an off campus IPS and it was blocked. IT found spyware on Tom’s computer that led back to the university. Supposedly, ISPs like Yahoo and AOL was blocking emails from UTMB because they contained spam. A person involved in the open meetings lawsuit had her computer seized for a few days. Does the university have the right to interfere with correspondence from faculty? If so, should faculty be notified when this is occurring? Does this follow policies that are in place or should there be policies?
Joel recommends documenting this entire process and informing all faulty in the UT System. Faculty in general may not know what has gone on at UTMB. We need to keep spreading the word.
Regents’ Rules regarding financial exigency need to be reviewed and maybe changed.
A faculty regent might help in this process and the bill proposing this seems to be moving through the legislature.
The Regent’s Rules are not being followed and no one seems to be in forcing them.
There has not been an official list, but most of the appeals do not seem to have been successful. One faculty has been told he will be rehired in another department, but he must first resign his current position.
Staff who have been rehired have apparently lost their sick leave, etc.
The appeal hearings have been heard by three people out of nine total. Each is hearing 10 appeals. Most have some type of administrative position.
Should the FAC try to define financial exigency? Murray has done this for UTD and found the language from the AAUP. UTMB may not have fit that definition and particularly if they receive the funds they are asking for. Mansour has forwarded a copy of Murray’s policy.
Back up person incase Tom is not successful in his appeal. Mansour asked the FAC members to think about whether we should just follow the Bylaws (chair elect takes over and serves for two years) or if we should do something else. We will make a decision later in the meeting.
11:00-12:00 am Raymund Paredes, Commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Dr. Paredes reported that there have been concerns about how they approved programs, particularly PhD programs. An advisory committee has been convened to review our policies. There needs to be a market/jobs and the programs needed to be competitive at the national level. Need to expand programs consistent with the resources available. They don’t want to institutionalize mediocrity. Community colleges want to offer baccalaureate degrees. They want to maintain quality and that’s why they have been careful in approving programs.
Q – Sandy Norman recently had a program denied because they were “too close to Austin”. What can we do? We have contacted UT Pan Am and others about joint programs.
A – Can’t speak about that particular program, but in general, I’m very concerned that there is a market for the graduates of the programs we approve. How do we compete with other programs around the country? We use outside consultants to help us decide how strong the programs will be. Some very prestigious programs around the country are cutting back.
Q – Are partnerships good?
A – Yes, but you still have to have a market.
C – Murray stated that it is difficult to know a particular market and where particular PhD will end up.
A – People who get a PhD in Anthropology, etc want academic jobs. If they end up in other positions, they may not need the PhD.
C – Not everyone who trains for a PhD. Doesn’t want academics and there may not be a better degree for them.
A – We are looking at other degrees. Expanding low producing PhD programs is not appropriate. CA has 10 institutions that offer most of the PhD degrees and Texas has 23. We need to honestly assess those programs. Legislators ask whether we should consolidate or shut down some of those programs.
Q – It seems like there is a need for psychologists yet a psychology program was denied.
A – Outside reviewers didn’t think much of the program. If the program focused on treating post trauma distress syndrome it would meet a future need with all the men and women returning from the wars. This would be a program that is needed, but as an English professor, “I don’t think we need another PhD program in English.” The programs that are in existence need support from the institution, beyond the formula funding.
Q – Do you take funding into account when you approve a program?
A – Yes, definitely.
Q – How many PhD programs were proposed last year, how many approved, how many denied and where were they.
A – I don’t have the actual numbers, but we get about 20 per year and we approve about 1/3.
Q – Whether a program is productive can fluctuate and what is a non-productive program?
A – One that doesn’t produce an adequate number (i.e. 3 in 10 years).
Q – Do you put programs on notice if they fire all of the professors in that program?
A – We would question that and ask the chancellor how this would be handled.
Q – What if graduate students take the place of faculty in teaching in PhD programs?
A – We don’t tell the campus how to teach.
Q – The psychology program at UTSA was denied because of particular labor statistics. Is that adequate?
A – We look at a number of labor statistics.
Q – How can UT Brownsville compete with the larger institutions?
A – Graduate education should rest on a solid foundation of undergraduate education. We look at the graduation rates/outcomes to determine whether a graduate program is appropriate. The exception is in the area of education where we want Ed.Ds available throughout the state. Institutions should first improve their graduation rates for undergrads before trying to start graduate programs. With open admission standards, the institutions must work very hard to insure student success.
Q – What about nursing education?
A – Our focus has been at the community colleges because they produce more nurses, but we have asked for money to expand all nursing programs. We haven’t turned down any doctoral program in nursing. We haven’t rejected any programs in critical health related fields even though some seem to be bloated masters programs. I’m concerned about the integrity of our degrees in the face of national trends.
C – Maybe we need to set the trend with good solid programs.
Q – How do you balance the need for numbers vs quality?
A – I don’t like the term “tier one institution”. I think they have different missions. We should strive for excellence in all of our institutions with programs that are uniformly excellent. All institutions should regularly review their programs. Admissions standards and time to degree should all be reviewed. Some programs require a higher number of hours before advancing to candidacy which may not be appropriate.
Q – Do you decommission programs?
A – We will review programs and may disapprove some.
Q – There are occasionally students who don’t have a BA (e.g. Bill Gates) who should be admitted to graduate school. Is there a rule against this?
A – I’m not aware of such a rule. I would support admitting Bill Gates. This is usually left to the institution.
C – Rule 8B from the Coordinating Board agenda calls for a BA/BS.
A – I would support tweaking the rule to say BA/BS or equivalent. Again, the institution should decide if they have an equivalent degree/background. These decisions should be made at the campus level by faculty.
Q – Even if you don’t like the concept of tier one, isn’t that a conflict with not approving doctoral programs.
A – I think we should first fund those institutions who are truly emerging research universities and grow those programs first and then fund the others as they emerge. We don’t compare favorably with other states in terms of funding higher education.
C – We have faculty being evaluated who were brought in under different sets of rules, which makes it difficult as we strive to be a research university.
Dr. Paredes joined us for lunch.
12:00 – 1:00 pm Senator Eliot Shapleigh (not able to appear)
1:00 – 2:00 pm Barry McBee, Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations
We are 18 days and 11 hours away from the end of the session. Deadlines begin to kick in today. House bill has to be passed by the House today and midnight. Most of the bills we want passed are still in play. May 26 is the deadline for the House to pass a Senate bill. They go home on June 1.
Budget – In conference committee. More money for formulas, nursing, etc. Looks reasonably good at this point. One non-monitary issue is the restriction on stem cell research. The overall state budget seems to be in good shape. There was recently a billion dollar underestimate of Medicaid. Somehow that has been resolved for now. The 14 billion of federal stimulus money is the only reason we are in good shape. That may be a one time funding. Unless the economy rebounds, the next session will be tough.
Undergraduate tuition and fees – Very complex Senate bill that is a one year transition to caps on tuition increase. House doesn’t seem to be anxious to pass this bill in its present form.
Top ten percent – Seeking a cap on admission under the 10% law. Guarded optimistic, but unpredictable.
Emerging Research Institutions – One version that has good traction is a state matching of funds that the institution brings in. Another consideration is the quality of research, etc. if you have a certain level of research funding would then provide additional funding.
Handguns on campus – House handgun bill in on the calendar (250/300). It may die tonight so the author tried to add it to another bill yesterday (DPS sunset bill). Senate bill made it out of committee but may have trouble bringing it to the floor for a vote. The chancellor has come out against the bill.
Faculty regent – Is on the House calendar (200/300) and may not make it by midnight.
Incentives – Funding in addition to the formulas is likely to become law.
Posting of syllabi online – This bill is still alive.
Textbooks – Some kind of textbook bill will pass.
UTMB – Three different financial needs. $150 million to match FEMA money plus $150 million authorized as TRBs. $50 million to restore reserves will be approved. Additional operating funds haven’t been approved and may not make it.
GNL Privacy Bill – There is a move to provide confidentiality without taking away all transparency.
Senate bills have to be out of House committee on May 23 so the handgun bill has until May 23 to die. Barry will provide the names of the uncommitted senators (i.e. who haven’t signed onto the bill). Both sides are passionate about this issue.
UTIMCO – Trying to add unnecessary oversight.
6 drops issue – There has been some resolution to this problem.
2:00 – 2:30 pm Barry Burgdorf, Vice Chancellor and General Counsel
Mr. Burgdorf was asked to respond to the AAUP inquiry about UTMB. They will be going through a more thorough investigatory process and the OGC will be working with them.
Q – Where will this take place?
A – They will pick a committee of people with no connection to UT and will arrange site visits at UTMB and Austin.
Q – Have they investigated UT before?
A- UT Arlington.
Q – How does the UT System feel about being censured by the AAUP?
A – We would rather not be censored and are aware of the implications of a censure. If we were censured it could be just UTMB, just the System or both.
Q – Should we improve the financial exigency rule? How should our campuses relate to the AAUP guidelines?
A – We are committed to relook at the financial exigency rule and improve it. There probably aren’t any universities that fully comply with the AAUP guidelines. We might be able to move closer to the AAUP position on financial exigency.
Q – Did you say in an interview that we wouldn’t rehire the riffed employees?
A – I said that in the settlement we did not agree to rehire any particular employees. Some may be reinstated through the appeals process and some may be rehired if positions open up.
Q – Another institution has cut people and is talking about firing faculty, when do they have to declare financial exigency?
A – Only if they want to invoke that rule. Otherwise the other rules apply, depending on their category.
Q – The burden of proof is currently on the appealing faculty, can this be changed?
A – We will look at that when we revisit the rule.
Q – What happens when someone doesn’t follow the Regents’ Rules?
A – The complaint is brought to the appropriate Executive Vice Chancellor or the Chancellor and the OGS will be involved when necessary.
Q – The FAC has made some recommendations on the interpretation of this particular Regents’ Rule and governance should be involved in the process and one alternative would be a cross the board cut. Has that been considered?
A- That was considered and thought not to be the best thing in this case. That type of consideration could be written into the Regents’ Rule. Another difference with AAUP is they don’t consider any faculty with any type of administrative responsibility to be faculty.
Q – All appeal board members have some type of administrative position. Is that a conflict.
A – Only if you feel they don’t represent the views of the faculty.
Q – Is the HOOP from UTMB being looked at by System?
A – We are always looking at some portion of the HOPs.
Q – If you feel that someone hasn’t followed the HOP, what is the recourse?
A – The HOP is a campus document. The campus has a lot of flexibility regarding the HOP.
The FAC recessed to committee meetings.
2:30 – 3:30 pm Committee Meetings, ASH 1, 2
Academic Affairs (ASH 1)
3:30 – 3:50 pm Campus Reports
UT San Antonio
6:00 – 8:00 pm Dinner with Chancellor at the Bauer House
Friday, May 15, 2009 – ASH 2
8:30 – 9:00 am Breakfast
9:00 – 10:00 am Committee Meetings, ASH 2, 9 conf. and CLB 3
Academic Affairs (CLB 3 conference)
10:00 – 11:00 am Francie Frederick, General Counsel to the Board
Francie worked with the FAC the first 10 years. Four new regents. James Huffines has been reappointed and reelected as chair. Coleen McHue has been elected as one of the vice-chairs and Paul Foster as the other vice-chair. The new regents are: Steve Hicks from Austin, (got started in radio and now has numerous interests), Bobby Stillwell from Houston (works in Dallas for Boone Pickens), Gene Powell from San Antonio (has a couple of real estate development companies and CEO of Airstrip a startup company which has technology that we may want at some point ). There will be a new student regent appointed, but can’t come from UTD. The current student regent did a good job. This is a good group of regents and they seem to be quick learners.
Q – Do any of the regents have any particular interest for or against faculty?
A – The FAC tends to intimidate the regents and you have an excellent opportunity to educate them. They say that faculty are important and we need to remain competitive. They will hear about the faculty teaching award in July.
Q – What is the agenda for the next year?
A- Rebuild UTMB. A responsible plan for the Brackenridge track. Put the System in good financial standing.
Q – How much do they know about UTMB?
A – Probably don’t have as much detail as they will need to know, particularly about the AAUP review.
Q – What is the chance of getting a faculty regent?
A – Unfortunately that bill died in the House last night, but the regents did not take a position on it which is a good sign.
Q – The UC system regents wanted to have a faculty rep but the faculty senate decided against it. They felt it better to have the senate chair meet with the board. How would our board feel about that?
A – I think there are some conflict issues with any employee regent. I think the FAC has tremendous clout and the chair is welcome at all BOR meetings. Scheduling meetings is a struggle. The chair can ask to speak at any board meeting. Look for meaningful things to present, particularly to the Campus Life Committee. The broader the issues the better.
Q – We haven’t had any regents visit us this year, or even the chancellor. We need to make sure we don’t schedule FAC and BOR meetings at the same time.
A – Scheduling regents is a problem, except those who are here in Austin. We can try to do a better job.
Q – Campus Life isn’t a major committee, we aren’t really counted.
A – We want the FAC to weigh in on issues that concern faculty and the FAC chair is asked to respond to certain issues at the BOR meetings.
Q – Faculty can provide critical input during discussions/hearings. Faculty can provide expert witness when needed.
A – Faculty senate chairs and student body presidents can speak to the BOR without advanced notice. The student regent has the advantage of automatically being present at the board meetings.
Q – If a campus is not following Regents’ Rules, what should we do?
A – If it isn’t resolved on the local campus, you can go to compliance (anonymously if you want), go to OGS, the Executive Vice Chancellor or all the above. If you have been to the president first and he/she doesn’t agree, you need to be up front about that. It would be better to try to resolve the issue with the president.
Q – What if the problem is the vice chancellor?
A – Go to the Chancellor and/or to System compliance. Regents’ Rules are to be obeyed unless an exception is granted by the Regents.
Q - Some administrators feel that Regents’ Rules are guidelines and not rules.
A – They are rules but we need to clarify them and improve them whenever needed.
C – Francie was a big help at UTHSC SA in interpreting the tenure rules.
Q – What happened to the No Smoking resolution?
A – I’ll find out.
Additional information from Francie
The Chancellor’s office will try to schedule him for each of the FAC meetings.
The Smoke Free Campus resolution has not come to the BOR yet.
There is a 24 hour notification requirement for speaking at the BOR meeting (could be changed if needed). The agenda is posted at least 72 hours before the meeting. You can request an email notice by emailing Francie.
Current chair-elect – Tom is currently appealing his termination, but may not be able to serve as chair of the FAC as of Sept. 2009. We can change the Bylaws or we can suspend the Bylaws to address this problem.
Q – Aren’t the Bylaws clear on this issue. If they address this issue shouldn’t we just follow them.
A – We have addressed this differently in the past.
Bylaws were read aloud.
C – This seems to cover the situation.
C – It doesn’t really matter whether the chair is from a Health or Academic campus.
C – Whoever we elect as chair-elect will quite possibly be chair for two years.
C – The Bylaws are written to
Motion to continue with the current Bylaws by Karen. Seconded.
C – If Tom resigns before taking office then a special election could be held.
C – Tom feels that it would not be in the best interest of the FAC, the faculty or the tenure process to resign before knowing the outcome of his appeal.
C – The motion is out of order because we should follow the Bylaws unless we vote otherwise.
Q – Will it help in the appeals process to be chair of the FAC?
A – Maybe at a level higher than UTMB.
(Consensus seemed to be to just follow the current Bylaws.)
Nominations open for Chair-Elect
Motion and seconded to close nominations. Approved.
Candidates gave brief summaries of their experiences.
Dan Formanowicz is the Chair-Elect
Nominations open for Secretary
James Eldridge (declined)
Motion and seconded to accept Bobbette by acclimation. Approved.
Discussion whether the language in the Bylaws regarding elections is clear. Governance will be asked to address this issue.
11:30-1:00 pm David Prior, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Pedro Reyes, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Planning and Assessment
Governor’s reforms – Received a set of directives in Jan. from the Governor in 3 categories
Q – Why is the governor trying to micromanage the system rather than trusting the Regents?
A – The Governor appoints Regents to be representatives of the people of Texas in administering the system. The Texas Public Policy Institute is pushing these issues and they seem to impact the Governor. Our board has held the line on maintaining the integrity of what we do. The Regents are supportive of our practices. Not all systems have a similar situation. The UT System isn’t perfect, but we have better practices than most of the other systems (e.g. the Regents’ Teaching Awards). The resolutions from the BOR distributed yesterday are an example.
Q – This seems to be a national movement to attack higher education by groups like TPI.
A – It’s David’s job to help educate the Regents on these matters.
Q – Have campuses been told to have syllabi online before class begins?
A – Most of this has been directed to the Academic campuses, but may be good practice for the Health campuses.
C – UTMB used to use a syllabus but decided to stop based on the outcomes.
The Chancellor has been impressed by the success of the STARS program as he visited the campuses. It’s part of the competitiveness initiative. The Regents want to know how we are doing. He wants to maintain and expand the STARS program. He knows we are currently in a good position to hire faculty from other parts of the country given the economy of Texas compared to other states. The STARS program has really helped to recruit some excellent faculty who have in turn been very successful in bringing in grant funds.
We have gone through the first cycle of the Teaching Awards and are waiting for a response from the Regents. There will be a total of around 60 awards. There will be awards from around all the campuses with a separate group from UT Austin because of funding differences.
Q – Is this a life-time achievement or are young faculty eligble.
A – It is for sustained performance but not a life-time achievement. We asked for evidence for at least three years.
Q – Is there administrative screening or can an individual submit?
A – There is a screening process that goes from dept. chair to dean to provost, etc.
Q – What if a faculty is at odds with the administration?
A - Peer pressure should take care of that.
C – Faculty are involved in the screening process at UTA.
A – We will be revising the process based on our experience with this first cycle. Faculty will be given more time to apply in the future. The Regents want to send a message that they value teaching.
Emerging Research Universities – The discussion has been very good on the campuses and at the Legislature. We have been struck by a varieties of views about what is means. You might want to read the Boyer Report: Reinventing undergraduate education a blueprint for America’s Research Universities. There must be a balance between undergraduate education and research. We can’t just focus on research, we are not research institutes. Boyer focuses on this balance. We need to integrate our teaching and research if we are going to truly advance our institutions.
C – There have been a number of programs at UT Austin to integrate undergraduate students into the research process.
Tenure policies need to value a balanced approach. The balance is important whether you are in an emerging research university or not.
C – We are faced with the pressure to bring in research funds and to teach graduate courses.
We’ve looked at teaching loads. The BOR policy calls for a minimum of 18 hours per week and we are at 24 hours or greater.
C – We could use more support processes and mentoring programs.
We need to look at the full range of faculty activities.
Q – The SACS process involves a lot of work that doesn’t seem to have any meaning. Are there better ways we can be accountable?
A – SACS accreditation today is much more focused than it used to be. Be careful what you ask for. Some parties want to get rid of accreditation.
Q – Many requirements have become an accounting exercise, but appear to be meaningless. Do we recognize that this is a problem?
A – We want to have intelligent and intelligible accounting (e.g. meaningful graduation rates). We need to analyze the data intelligently.
Q – Do we need specific limits on things such days away from campus rather than looking at outcomes such as how well someone is doing their job on campus?
A – We should be looking at outcomes rather than specific requirements.
Q – SACS can be a painful experience. Does SACS take feedback on the shortcomings of their processes?
A – They are not open to System suggestions, but we can talk to the members of their board or have a member of their staff meet with us.
C – We need to propose changes to their board and their staff.
C – It is in everyone’s best interests to improve the quality of the SACS accreditation.
Q – Are the student evaluations at UT Austin really the best practices?
A – Each campus needs to develop the evaluation process that is best for them and review it regularly.
Q – We recommended having a dean of dual enrollment at UT Brownsville but it was denied. What was the process that was used?
A – The System does an overview but gives leeway to the president. We do look at the costs of increasing the administrative structure and whether its going to take away from educational programs without improving the process.
Q – Does the director of a program have faculty status?
A – We wouldn’t ever decide that, it would be decided at the local campus. For those things that we do decide, we approve most, but always require adequate justification.
1:00-2:00 pm Committee Reports and Campus Reports continued
A Model Policy for Financial Exigency (see attachment) was presented and discussed. Motion made, seconded and approved to make it a model document that will be polished and distributed to the members of the FAC before forwarding to System.
Proposed Amendment to the Bylaws regarding officers unable to serve.
“ If, prior to assuming their position, a FAC officer has reason to believe that he/she will not be able to fulfill their responsibility as of the beginning of the academic year, (e.g. appealing a termination proceeding, having been fired, leaving System), an alternate will be elected to fill the position in case that person will be unable to serve. A Health officer will be replaced by a Health representative and an Academic officer will be replaced by an Academic representative.”
A motion was made, seconded and approved to place the proposed amendment on the agenda for the next meeting.
Rule on votes for electing officers.
This wording is to clarify Rule 4. It was proposed by the governance committee as an instruction to remain in the minutes. The consensus of the FAC on discussion was that it should be offered as an amendment to be included in the bylaws.
“Rule 4 under elections should be interpreted to mean that if no one candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, a runoff will be held among those receiving the largest numbers of votes, such that the total of their votes makes up a majority of the total votes cast. That is, if one person receives 40% and the next highest number is 20%, then the runoff will be held among these two. If one receives 30% and the next highest receives15% and the next after that 10%, then the runoff will be held among these three. If there are ties among the highest ranking candidates, all tied candidates will be included in the runoff.”
The proposed amendment will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting.
Send information to Amy Jasperson to place on the WIKI. https://wiki.utdallas.edu/wiki/display/hied/Texas+Faculty+Higher+Education+Wiki;jsessionid=1443E5EA1D79B1D62B8BEE1A305A5046
The Faculty Quality Committee has been reviewing what each campus provides as a support system for new faculty and adjuncts. Specific areas include orientation and mentoring. Websites with resources are available, year long faculty orientation programs that meet twice each month, assignment of faculty mentors to new faculty, and many informal practices were identified. Each committee member is to summarize the practices on their campuses plus one additional institution and send their summaries to the Committee Chair at Bobbette.Morgan@utb.edu by June 1, 2009. A draft will be circulated and recommendations proposed. A written report will be prepared for the first fall 2009 meeting.
New co-chairs are Elmer Bernstam (UTHSCH) and Karen Pawlowsky (UT Southwestern)
Gave information on exigency to Governance.
Changes to the health insurance will be known by next week.
Meeting adjourned at 2:40pm.